Look at Madison Square Park 1893 minus Shake Shack! The park seems to have retained the ‘bones’ and basic layout of that era. What is obviously missing is the Shake Shack: it started out as a “humble hot dog cart”* in 2001 that restauranteur Danny Meyer’s company operated (they initially “volunteered” to do so) at the same time he was involved with the “fledgling organization, the Campaign for a New Madison Square Park”* which later morphed into Friends of Madison Square Park and eventually became what exists today: the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Ah, the privatized life of a park. And, of course, that “humble” cart became… Shake Shack.
People who wonder why there is concern over a private conservancy for Washington Square Park may want to examine the history of now privatized Madison Square Park and its uber-commercialization, corporate influence, and programming and the “evolution” of the Madison Square Park Conservancy and Shake Shack.
*Source: Danny Meyer’s book, “Setting the Table”
Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:
Photo: Community Board 5 e-newsletter